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Hey, Wassup Doc?

Successful teen-doctor relationship depends on time and trust

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 14, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Taking the time to build trust is the best way for doctors to create a productive and long-lasting relationship with young patients.

So says a new study in the August issue of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

"Adolescents want a strong interpersonal relationship with their [health-care] provider, a sense of emotional and physical safety, and a provider who offers counseling," says study author Dr. Kenneth R. Ginsburg of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

For the study, Ginsburg and his fellow researchers surveyed about 2,600 ninth graders in Philadelphia. Several hundred of those students were also questioned about their answers in follow-up group sessions.

The teenagers said they only really trusted their doctor after a long and consistent relationship. The teens also said they wanted access to a doctor other than their primary-care physician if they had symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases or other diseases that may cause them embarrassment.

Honesty and a caring, nonjudgmental, up-to-date approach were the most important factors for the teenagers in how they related to their doctors, the study found.

"Understanding teenagers, taking time with them and listening to them set the stage for a relationship in which youth can develop greater independence as they transition to adult care. Teenage patients feel a loss of control when they do not understand the content of the medical visits or office procedures," the researchers say

More information

Read about why many teens don't go to the doctor.

SOURCE: Health Behavior News Service, August 2002
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